Twins fans can take a breath and be very satisfied with where the squad is in the standings and how well they have played in the last 10 games. A 9-1 record in the last 10 games tends to relieve our anxieties. However, I think it is human nature to find something to worry about. Befitting the Twins 13-9 (good, not great) record, there are things to worry about--Miguel Sano's poor start, unsustainable success from youngsters and reclamation projects in the starting rotation and, of course, injuries. My greatest concern is the back end of the bullpen.
With the expanded rosters, the bullpens have been both used more and used differently in April. The roster will be reduced by two today and pitching staff will be limited to 14 after today's game. So far, the disappointments have been confined to veterans. Tyler Duffey failed in a save opportunity and took a loss when he entered a game in the middle innings with a lead and gave it up. Caleb Thielbar has strung together several poor outings, featuring his lack of command--both walks and falling behind in counts--and although his numbers are okay, Emilio Pagan has given up a lead and had two ulcer-inducing saves as the de-facto closer. The title of this blog entry points out that all three of these guys are over 30. I do want to point out that two other 30+ bullpen guys have been very good--Danny Coulombe and particularly Joe Smith.
I think that the track records of Pagan, Thielbar, and Duffey will allow their manager and pitching coach to give them some rope. Duffey and Thielbar started slowly in 2021, but performed better as the season went along. Pitching for San Diego, Pagan went the other way, as did practically the entire team. Duffey and Thielbar haven't closed games regularly. Pagan saved 20 games for the 2019 Rays and seems to be the preferred option for the manager right now. It doesn't make sense to me to trust any of these guys unconditionally at this point. Jhoan Duran would seem to be an obvious answer and perhaps Jorge Alcala could provide another reliable high-velocity arm in the second half of the season. To me, the Twins need to add someone to the mix that isn't on the roster right now.